I am trying to setup my Latitude E6520 with 3 monitors, 2 External and laptop display. THe setup should be as follows:

Primary - Laptop (1920x1080) - Embedded
Secondary - Acer X233H (1920x1080) - HDMI
Tertiary - Acer X183 (1366x768) - VGA

I currently have the externals connected, and I have the Laptop Display working with the X233H, running at the proper resolution...

The problem comes when I plug in the third monitor... I go into my display resolution properties and what happes is strange...

I can see all 3 displays, however, after a few seconds, it disappears off the list... and then several seconds later, it reappears..

I am able to use any 2 displays.. however with all 3 connected, it continually disconnects and reconnects..

My display card is an NVidia NVS4200M, and all drivers are up-to-date from NVidia.

I am running Windows8 (Up to date) and I have Optimus turned off (As Windows8 does not support my dual graphics cards).

Any and all help as to how I can get all 3 displays working correctly is greatly appreciated.

Response to Ariane

I am typing this here because my response would be too long for a comment, and it will add relevant information to my original post:

With all 3 plugged in, I can at any one point get 2 monitors to work, so I am expecting that what you said, in the fact that they share the same output if the problem..

I have tried replacing all of the cables, and still no difference. Does the same things.

I have tried plugging things in in all different orders, rebooting the computer and everything..

In regards to the dual video cards, they are not really 'cards' as one is the Intel Graphics build into the i Processors, and the other is a dedicated, but integrated, processor built into the laptop motherboard, it can not be removed.

In Windows 7, with the dual systems, I was given the option when right click on any .exe to launch it with either the NVidia graphics processor, or the Intel processor. As of right now I have the Intel Processor turned off, however all display ports on the system still work, it just must only support a maximum number of displays.

I will continue to look into this problem as I would love a solution ,but for now I am using an old USB->VGA adapter that I had laying around to power the Triary screen which I will not use for much more then my music application anyway... however it is sill a bit laggy for my taste, and I hope to find an actual solution ^.^

  • Maybe this helps people having the same problem four years later: According to Dell, Optimus needs to be enabled when 3 displays (2x extermal HDMI+VGA; 1x internal) should be used without a docking station: dell.com/support/article/uz/en/fjbiz1/SLN295383 . I think it is due to some strange wiring of the VGA, HDMI and LVDS connections in the two-graphics-cards setup. – daniel.heydebreck Jul 27 '17 at 13:02

With windows 7, triple monitors did not work for me unless i had both the nvidia nvs4200 driver and the intel hd driver installed. Once i installed both of those, i was then able to launch the nvidia control panel and enable multiple monitors. I dont have my laptop in front of me (left it at the office), but i think the rest was configured through windows screen resolution.

This has been pretty rock solid for me ever since, lots of docking and ejecting from dock through the week (3 to 4 times a day).

I am using the laptop screen and 2 monitors connected through DVI on the pro docking station. You can pick up the docking station at ebay for pretty cheap, you will need a 90 watt power adapter if its not inclueded. ie.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Docking-Station-E-Port-Plus-Latitude-E6400-E6420-E6500-E6520-E6410-/261121566456?pt=Laptop_Docking_Stations&hash=item3ccc0ee6f8 and http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-Dell-90W-90-Watt-AC-Adapter-Power-Supply-PA-10-/300845256276?pt=Laptop_Adapters_Chargers&hash=item460bc64e54 These are not my ebay postings and I am not recommending either of these sellers, im only using them as a reference for you.

I have not tried using the HDMI and VGA ports on the laptop it self, no HDMI monitors at work for testing.

  • 1
    Might also check bios for Nvidia Optimus support and enable it. – Paul Jan 21 '13 at 23:29
  • Hi Paul, thanks for the response. I am at this point thinking that it is a problem with Windows8, because I now have to dock, and that gives me problems, even when running just 2 monitors. Both laptop screen and external display flicker, USB chime in and out for about 3 minutes before I get any video anywhere, and when the screen goes to sleep, the only thing it does is USB plugged in chime -> USB Unplugged chime...) Thinking just for this I am going to go back to 7 for a while. – Matt Clark Jan 23 '13 at 0:11

Okay, I don't -know- the answer, but I hope I can help you find it. Something intermittent like this sounds very much like the problem lies with either the monitor or the connection. Software usually sees or does not see things, and it works or it doesn't work. When you have something like this - shows up, and then disappears, and then shows up later - it looks like something is physically broken.

I might be wrong and this might be a more complex software-related issue - and geez, I don't even have much experience at all with setting up multiple monitors - but I say, fiddle around and see whether something is broken, and if so, what exactly.

-Try changing which port each screen is plugged on.

-Try trading cables around, if they're removable.

-Try making the third monitor that presently doesn't work your primary monitor, alone.

-After doing that, plug the other two. Does the third one bug even if it's not the same screen?

-Do the same, but by plugging the first monitor (the one that bugged before) into the third output, the one that bugged before. The same, but first, instead of last. Do you see something on the first screen? Now add the two others. Does the last one, for which both screen and plug worked fine before, work?

This should allow you to determine what's wrong, short of solving the issue. Is a screen busted? A cable? An output plug? Or is there nothing physically broken, and is it a more complex issue?

In last resort, if every piece is working fine, you can try this:

-Plug everything in as it should work, then restart the computer just like that. Maybe on startup Windows will see what's wrong and fix it.

Lastly, in bulk, googling "windows 8 third screen not working" allowed me to find this quite quickly:

"Depending on he exact model of the card, two ports may share the same signal. Sometimes it's one dvi and a dp or any other combination. The manual should help."

So for some cards, you can have, say, three ports visible, but two of them are just two options for one actual "output". This means this graphics card doesn't support three monitors, simply. It may be an ability it just doesn't have to begin with. Alone, at least.

Or maybe the fact that you have two graphics card and one turned off causes an issue. I don't know how to explain it. Maybe the system somehow expects there to be two, but only one is working, and it causes weird results. Or maybe, simply, you're plugging the third screen into the disabled card, which obviously won't work.

Try maybe removing the card entirely, instead of disabling it.

PS: I'm far from being an expert, but Windows 8 not supporting your dual cards (and you seem to imply other OS do) sounds unlikely. For instance, almost everything that work on Windows 7 should work on Windows 8. Maybe there's a special way to get it to work. Did you look it up? Maybe it's a story of drivers or some other kind of software that you need. Look it up, maybe, and try driver scanning software like Driver Genius.

  • See my edit. ^.^ Too long for a comment :p – Matt Clark Jan 7 '13 at 4:58
  • 1
    @MattClark: Then I think your main path for looking for a solution will be to see how to get your two graphics "cards" to work together like they used to. There just has to be a way. – Ariane Jan 7 '13 at 5:09

What kind of connection do the two external monitors have? You may need Active display adapters so the monitors can receive a proper signal.

  • Thought I had that in the OP, See edit: 1:System Display - 2:HDMI - 3:VGA – Matt Clark Jan 7 '13 at 15:19
  • That's saying, your laptop has both HDMI and VGA outputs, or is there some kind of adapter in between somewhere? – Bigbio2002 Jan 7 '13 at 15:27
  • I have both HDMI and VGA – Matt Clark Jan 7 '13 at 15:29
  • Interesting... and you're using the respective HDMI and VGA inputs on the external monitors, not an adapter? Did you install any monitor drivers from Windows Update? – Bigbio2002 Jan 7 '13 at 15:30
  • As stated, I am running the System Display, one on the HDMI port, and one on the VGA port, no adapters. All drivers are up-to-date right from NVidia. – Matt Clark Jan 7 '13 at 15:33

I have a similar issue with E6530 - the integrated display and the VGA one are both just fine, while the display connected by HDMI is unstable:

  • sometimes I have no image at start even if windows is convinced that everything is fine (I can move apps on that display with no issues), this is usually solved by multiple cable reconnections and display power cycles
  • short interruptions, for this I have no solution

The issues are not depending on the HDMI cable used (the current setup uses a HDMI-DVI adapter, but I have also tried displays with native HDMI connections) or on the actual display connected by HDMI.

Update: just found an article from Dell support: http://www.dell.com/support/article/us/en/19/SLN288845/EN

Disable DisplayPort 1.2 (DP1.2) Support from the external monitors menu as a workaround for monitors going black. Not every monitor has the ability to disable or support this feature, please consult your monitors users guide for additional information.


  • Windows 7 x64
  • Philips 221EL
  • Philips 226V
  • other Philips models (for brief periods of time)
  • latest BIOS
  • latest drivers

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